Natural Gas Standby Generators vs. Diesel

We know that power outages can be lengthy in Minnesota any time of the year. There are some rather violent storms in the spring and summer with heavy snowfall in the winter. There are even times when the electricity goes out and there is really no rhyme or reason for it (squirrels, birds, car wreck into a power pole, etc.).

When you have a standby generator to provide you with the power that you need, you don’t have to worry too much about power outages.

But with so many different types to choose from, such as natural gas and diesel, which do you choose?

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators are widely used in Minnesota as portable and permanent standby generators. The generator connects into your natural gas line so that you receive the endless supply of gas that is needed to power the generator during a prolonged outage. Being that natural gas is considered one of the most effective and affordable fuels, many people take this route.

Here are some other advantages to natural gas:

  • The fuel burns clean, aside from carbon dioxide production, and is less expensive than other fuels.
  • The emissions are much less when compared to oil and coal.
  • There is no pungent odor produced by the fuel.
  • The electricity from the main source is actually more expensive than the natural gas it takes to run a generator.
  • It is readily available.

The disadvantages include the fact that the gas company may have a limit on their gas stores, which means the fuel supply could be cut off, and natural gas is a non-renewable energy source. Although rare, it can happen. There is also the fact that natural gas generators are more expensive to run than diesel generators and emit more carbon dioxide.

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are used in general backup power applications, but they may also be used in cases where there may be no connection to the power grid. In other words, a diesel generator can be used to power a facility in the wilderness, electrical items on a ship, and in commercial applications.

The advantages include:

  • The power supply is steady.
  • The unit is efficient in that diesel engines have greatly improved in recent years.
  • Diesel engines are quite sturdy and reliable.
  • Diesel is less flammable than other fuel sources, gaining it points in the area of safety.
  • The lifespan of a diesel engine is longer than the standard gas engine.
  • No spark plugs or wires are needed, which reduces maintenance costs.

Although the initial cost can be higher than the other types of generators, the long-term savings can be greater and that can offset the initial cost. There is also the fact that these generators can be much louder than a gas generator and they are rather bulky because of their heavy components. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you may want to consider gas since diesel is a major pollutant.

All in all, which you choose depends on your wants and needs in a generator. If you want a generator that burns cleaner than diesel and is quiet, then gas may be the best way to go. If you want lower long-term cost, ability for off-grid use, and sturdiness in your system, then diesel may be best for you.